Accessibility statement

The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep - PSY00026M

« Back to module search

  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Gareth Gaskell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

We spend more than 200,000 hours of our lives asleep, compared with perhaps 20,000 hours in formal education. Surprisingly, the effects of sleep on the brain remain poorly understood. This module will explore the impact of sleep on cognitive performance, drawing evidence from behavioural neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology methods. Although the module cuts across several strands of psychology, there will be a particular focus on the potential impact of sleep on memory and knowledge.

Module learning outcomes

  • Compare and contrast the main models of sleep associated consolidation
  • Critically evaluate evidence relating to the impact of sleep on memory and cognitive performance
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of how specific components of sleep relate to changes in behaviour
  • Apply theoretical knowledge of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders to practical issues relating to cognitive performance
  • Critically evaluate the relationship between dreams and behaviour

Module content

  • Why do we sleep?
  • Sleep deprivation and cognitive performance
  • Theories of memory consolidation
  • Sleep and memory consolidation
  • Sleep and emotion
  • Dreams and behaviour
  • Levels of consciousness
  • Sleep disorders and cognition
  • Sleep across the lifespan


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The marks on all assessed work will be provided on e-vision.

Indicative reading

Introductory Reading:

Siegel, J. M. (2009). Sleep viewed as a state of adaptive inactivity. Nat Rev Neurosci, 10, 747-753.

Walker, M. (2018). Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams. Penguin.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.